section: Australia

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ordinary heroes shine on suffering

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer often made his characters ask the eternal questions, chiefly Why do we suffer? I can't profess to have any answers to this, except that it is obvious that 'time and chance happeneth to all'. Two examples of such happenings are the huge numbers of ill-fated refugees fleeing Syria and other trouble spots, and the needless death of young Sarah Paino of Hobart, wife and mother, who was killed when a speeding stolen car crashed into hers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Alice Springs is still a contested space

    • Mike Bowden
    • 29 January 2016
    9 Comments

    The Northern Territory News and the ABC reported this month that the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company had been unsuccessful in its tender for continuing tenancy services to the Town Camps of Alice Springs. Despite being a product of the Intervention, CAAHC had developed a powerful model of community housing and had the support of the Central Land Council and the wider Aboriginal community. It appears that these are not attributes the NT government admires.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Friendlier Ghosts of Australia Days Future

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 January 2016
    4 Comments

    The two major challenges facing the world have to do with kindness to strangers and care for the natural world. If the image of the beginnings of Australia is of a boatload of powerful Europeans coming to exploit the land occupied by a primitive people, a better image of future Australia Days might be of Australia sending parties to Indigenous settlements and other nations to discover how to cooperate in the great projects of reconciliation between people and people with nature.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Our unfinished business with the First Nations

    • Brian McCoy
    • 26 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Every time I cross Sydney Harbour by train heading to the North Shore I look for the Aboriginal flag that flies from the top of the Jesuits' St Aloysius' College at Milsons Point. It was first raised on 25 January 1988, on the eve of the Australian Bicentenary, to mark the final day, 200 years previously, that Aboriginal people had complete freedom to their lands and customs before the arrival of the First Fleet.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mixed loyalties don't negate Australianness

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 25 January 2016
    11 Comments

    I arrived in Australia at the ripe old age of five months. I learned Australian values by a process of gentle osmosis. Many Indigenous Australians learned these values in a less gentle fashion. Today, many Australian Jews show a strong loyalty to the world's only Jewish state. Others combine loyalties with other ancestral homelands. Australian Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindus have similar broadened loyalties. Exactly how such loyalties make them any less Australian beats me.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Life in procrastination nation

    • Ellena Savage
    • 22 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Where does this need for punctuality, performance and productivity arise? I don't believe it is rooted so much in 'western culture' as it is in capitalism. There is, after all, time for many kinds of dithering in the literature that charts western society. Socrates could barely tie his own sandals — he'd never make his job network meeting on time. Hamlet is entirely premised on the drama of procrastination: some things, like killing one's paternal uncle who is also the king, seem better fit for tomorrow.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Whose Australia Day?

    • Fatima Measham
    • 22 January 2016
    18 Comments

    Last November I was on a panel at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council conference, musing about postmodern identities, whether 'ethnics' were mainstream and not peripheral, and whether 'Aussie values' are in fact universal. I enjoyed the discussion, but part of me felt worn. It seemed to me that black and brown folks like us are less concerned about what it means to be Australian than how Australian we would have to be, to be as Australian as everyone else.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Refugee crisis demands and defies sustained reflection

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 January 2016
    7 Comments

    In our response to the forced movement of peoples we must recognise that our national identity is not built primarily on uniformity of religion and race but on adherence to the values that are enshrined in our social institutions. We must also recognise the way in which our own prejudices and fears affect the judgments and proposals we make, and exercise a proper scepticism about making quick judgments and drawing universal conclusions from particular events such as those in Cologne.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We are shaped by how we choose to view violent crimes

    • Lyn Bender
    • 18 January 2016
    18 Comments

    In the early hours of a brand new year, two small boys had their lives extinguished by a purportedly depressed father. For me this event brought to mind two cases from a past life, when I was the manager of Melbourne Lifeline. One was a woman who disclosed that she had killed her two small children a decade earlier. In a second case, a belligerent suicidal man expressed rage towards his former partner, who was about to remarry. I asked pertinent questions. Would he harm his children? 'Yes.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Maintaining youthful rage

    • Ellena Savage
    • 15 January 2016
    1 Comment

    A friend recently died at 25. She was heavily involved in our political and literary communities, and I saw in her the very best of rage and rawness in politics. But I also saw how possessing such a sense of obligation to raw, honest, and emotionally-engaged political exploration, is exhausting. Of course it is. Popular wisdom has it that as you age, you get more 'realistic' about political matters. But that's not it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Justice in recognition for Aboriginals

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 January 2016
    9 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: A political death

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 January 2016
    9 Comments

    It is hard to comment on Tony Abbott's demise without being splattered by the schoolyard mud. But we should begin by sparing a thought for the man himself in this time of humiliation. He has given his life to the Liberal Party, and to be disowned as leader by it is surely devastating. 

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